1.Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I’m a big Amy Poehler fan so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of her recently released first book, Yes Please. Rather than a traditional autobiography, it’s written as more of a collection of little stories and recollections interwoven with old pictures, snippets of scripts and skits, weird little poems and the occasional chapter written by friends or family. It’s an easy and quick read, and felt a little bit like having a rambly conversation with one of your pals. Whilst Yes Please wasn’t as hilariously funny as I thought it was going to be, I did enjoy it – although I probably wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not already a fan of Amy as I don’t think it would come across quite as endearing and witty if you’re not familiar with her (plus there are lots of stories about Saturday Night Live and Parks & Recreation).
2.Regeneration by Pat Barker
Ever since writing my MSc dissertation, I’ve been a little obsessed with all things to do with World War One. So, a novel which combines the war AND my fave city Edinburgh is pretty much my ideal book. Set in Craiglockhart War Hospital in 1917, the novel centres around psychiatrist Dr Rivers as he tries to deal with the strains of treating an overwhelming number of young men suffering from “shell-shock”. Based on real people and real events, Regeneration weaves together fact and fiction; one thread of the story involves the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen who were patients at Craighlockhart for part of the war. The novel describes the horrors of war and the indelible affect it had on an entire generation in a brutal, vivid and honest way. I thought Barker was particularly good at writing characters, giving each one a unique voice and emphasising the human cost of the war. There are two more books in the Regeneration Trilogy for me to read, and they are top of my reading list at the moment!
3. The Rental Heart and Other Fairy Tales by Kirsty Logan
It has been quite a few months since I read The Rental Heart, but I had to include it in this post because I LOVED it. A collection of twenty short stories based on the themes of lust and loss, this little book is enchanting, dark, ethereal and just pretty lovely. Some of the stories are more traditionally fairytale-like than others, but all have a sense of something surreal and magical about them. My favourite of the short stories was the first one, from which the book’s title is taken, about a world where mechanical hearts are bought and sold. This book probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I would definitely recommend it if you fancy reading something beautifully written and a little bit different.
What have you been reading lately?